Visual arts meets slow fashion: Happy baby news turned into a piece of art

MORICO Happy News -pattern Susanna Sivonen & Tytti Alapieti

MORICO's founder and designer Tytti Alapieti and artist Susanna Sivonen with the Happy News painting that started it all. Both wearing upcoming Happy News pieces

The story behind the painting and the Happy News pattern

“When I first saw my friend wearing the Happy News swimsuit, she looked like she was wrapped in gift paper. It made her look like a work of art!”

 – Do you know the feeling when your friend says: I need to tell you something? visual artist and textile designer Susanna Sivonen asks.

– When I heard that Tytti was expecting a baby, I quit everything I was doing at the moment and got an insane inspiration to do a painting, Susanna continues.

 Tytti Alapieti, the founder and fashion designer of MORICO, had long wanted to order a painting from Susanna, who works in the same premises as her at Kulttuurikiihdyttämö TILA. The two of them had spoken about it, but they hadn't locked anything in yet. After the happy news, however, the painting was born in one day.

 – It came out loaded with intensity. My stomach pinched pondering if it was too much for Tytti, who is quite different in nature compared to me. She is stable as a rock, while I talk a lot and burst with energy. I was excited to hear what she’d think of it, Susanna recalls.

 Tytti loved the painting – so much that she wanted a new pattern of it for the upcoming MORICO summer 2022 collection.

 – It has all my favorite colors and every time you look at it, something new opens up, Tytti describes.

From New York to Pikisaari, Oulu

Tytti’s and Susanna’s roads crossed first time a few years earlier, before they ended up in the same workspace in Oulu. They were participating in an event for Finnish design in New York – the Finland100NYC. Tytti was showcasing MORICO together with the sustainable design online store Weecos, and Susanna was one of the event’s organizers and artists.

– Sussu made amazing live paintings there, Tytti recalls.

Next time, the paths of Tytti and Susanna came together on a dark December evening in Oulu, Pikisaari, inhabited by artists and craftsmen. Both had come there to look at a workspace in an old woodworking class, located in a former wool factory and handicraft school. Today, TILA serves as a cultural center and an office for companies, associations and entrepreneurs in the field of culture and arts.

– Joni Kesti from Oulun paitapaino had asked us both there to see if we’d like to share the woodworking class as a workspace with him, Tytti says.

– When I saw Tytti, she looked familiar. Wait a minute, we've seen before, in New York! Susanna continues.

Working in a shared workspace has felt natural and inspiring.

– I mostly work alone. You get new perspectives from the community here, and it urges you to create something special, Tytti, who has also collaborated with Kesti, says.

– And of course, it’s great to plan and come up with ideas of all kinds together. For example, now we’ve had a lot of fun pondering all sorts of happy news, Susanna smiles.

MORICO Happy News Haven Trousers, Solar One Piece

Upcoming Happy News pieces; Haven Trousers, reversible Sunny Top & Solar One Piece 

A piece of art transformed into swimwear

According to Susanna Sivonen, the process of pattern design differs from making a painting. When designing a pattern you must first understand the function of the garment. After that comes the patterns that decorate it. In Susanna's opinion, there is always a slightly more commercial charge when designing patterns, and you have to think more carefully in which direction the patterns and colors will go in the final product.

– Patterns with painted prints are nothing new. But in this print, the fun part is that the pattern is really based on an existing piece of art. The pattern has been modified so that the Happy News story continues in it, Susanna says.

– When I first saw my friend wearing the Happy News swimsuit, she looked like she was wrapped in gift paper! The swimsuit was so exquisite, and the pattern worked remarkably well. It made her look like a work of art!

Thanks to the big pattern, all Happy News products look slightly different.

– Although the pattern is recognizable, every sweater, dress, pants, shirt, and skirt is unique. It's a new thing in MORICO products, Tytti says.

– Tytti’s Happy News painting is also unique and will remain so. However, the pattern conveys the same joy and energy as the painting. It's easy to identify with the feeling when your friend says: I need to tell you something…, Susanna adds.

Susanna thinks sharing good news can also be something more mundane than life-changing baby news.

– It can be something small like enjoying the good day your colleague is having and getting energy from it, Susanna sums up.

Susanna and Tytti, what happy news did you hear last?

– I just got some good news when I opened a letter with a save the date wedding invitation, Susanna says.

– I just heard that my friends will have another child. That was wonderful news too, Tytti reveals.

And what happy news did you last hear? Tell us in the comments!

Pics outside: Iisakki Kennilä
Pics from the studio: Veera Uutinen


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